Hot Joe: Birds' Banner denies he's lukewarm on Andy

Banner
Banner
Posted: February 17, 2011

The Joe Banner winter 2011 media tour continued yesterday - T-shirt sales are brisk, sources say - with an appearance on WIP radio alongside Howard Eskin and Ike Reese.

Not surprisingly, in the wake of Banner's remarks Tuesday, a prime topic was Eagles coach Andy Reid. Banner, the team president, did not say his words on Reid had been reported incorrectly, though he did quibble with the Daily News' use of the word "lukewarm" to describe his support for the coach in a front-page headline yesterday.

Recapping, Banner had extolled Reid's leadership and indicated strong support for him Tuesday, while indicating that Reid needs to win a Super Bowl to get a contract past the one that expires after the 2013 season.

"We are determined to win a Super Bowl," Banner told Eskin and Reese yesterday. "Actually, we're determined to win more than one. And as long as we believe that Andy Reid is the person out there, in the leadership position of the team, on both the personnel and coaching front, that gives us the best shot at doing that, he'll be the head coach. If we ever reached the point where we didn't believe that, then we would be making a change to get somebody we thought could.

"But I want to be really clear - I have no reservation whatsoever . . . I can't imagine you could find a player that's played for him or a coach that's coached with him that would tell you 'I don't think this guy's a good enough coach to win a Super Bowl.' You're just not going to find that . . . To me, the fact that he hasn't done it yet isn't proof that he can't or won't. You wish he had, and sometimes it's baffling that he hasn't, but I sit here very confident that he is a person capable of leading this team, making the decisions, and winning a Super Bowl, in fact, multiple Super Bowls. I'm even shocked that it hasn't happened yet."

Banner restated over and over his confidence in Reid's ability to win a Super Bowl - but he never disavowed the notion that Reid needs to win one to get another deal. He did assert, in service of his contention that Reid can win one, that Redskins coach Mike Shanahan won two Super Bowls (with Denver), and "if you could trade Andy Reid for Mike Shanahan, I don't know anybody who wouldn't take Andy Reid." (Somewhere in the listening audience, a Mr. D. McNabb nodded affirmatively.)

Finally, Eskin asked Banner whether Reid will be the coach 3 years from now, absent a Lombardi Trophy.

"I'm unabashedly a big Andy Reid fan," Banner said. "There's nobody more frustrated that he hasn't won a championship than Andy, and who works tirelessly every minute of every day, isn't afraid of making changes, isn't afraid of taking chances, to try to get us over the top. And he has our support . . . My bet is, we're not sitting here 3 years from now having to deal with that hypothetical, because we will have won a championship."

Other topics covered yesterday:

* Banner said: "I believe at this point, we have the highest-paid coaching staff in the NFL." League gossip has held that the Birds paid dearly to pry defensive-line coach Jim Washburn away from Tennessee and to lure offensive-line coach Howard Mudd out of retirement.

* Obviously, nothing will happen with a possible DeSean Jackson contract extension until there is a new collective bargaining agreement.

* The Eagles have to collect season-ticket money on schedule because the season still might be played on schedule - they have to assume it will be, for now. But Banner said the team will offer refunds with interest if games are canceled by a lockout.

* Speaking of Donovan McNabb's treatment in Washington, Banner said he didn't want to criticize the Redskins, but said there were "some moments I felt really uncomfortable with" as the Eagles' all-time leading passer ended up watching the end of the season from the bench.

* In perhaps his toughest rhetorical challenge, Banner tried to assert that the six-time Super Bowl champion Steelers, who have appeared in three of the last six Super Bowls and won two of them, really aren't any more successful than the Eagles on balance, because they haven't made the playoffs nine of the last 11 years, or been to five conference championship games in the last decade, the way the Eagles have.

For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' Eagles blog, Eagletarian, at www.eagletarian.com.

Follow him on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/LesBowen.

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